Friday Link Love: BlogHer Community Keynote edition

Link Love Badge

I haven’t done a link post in several weeks – mostly because I’ve been too busy to do much exploring on the internet. I’m slowly starting to check out the blogs of ladies I met at Blogher, and will likely have things to share next week.

In the meantime, please read these posts. These are the hilarious, thoughtful, and poignant posts that were part of the BlogHer Community Keynote I participated in. Also, if you’d like to watch any of them on video, you can do that here (this video has a been view of my super-fine new haircut than my own video).

(thanks to fussy for all the links!)

Best Rant

Sarah Brown, “Attention: I have some things to say about Goldfish snack crackers.”

Danielle Wiley, “I am indeed a full-time mother, and yes, my daughter does watch Hannah Montana”

Megan Smith, “Michelle Obama Enjoys “The View:” A Recap”

Mr. Lady, “It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop.”

Heather Barmore, “Guess who wants Typepad for Mother’s Day”

Blogging About Blogging

Liz Gumbinner, “I’m official! Hooray!”

Suebob Davis, “Blogging makes you lose your mind”

Stephanie Bergman, “Has Twitter Ruined Blogging?”

Zan, “Note to Self in the Age of the Internet: A Necessary Reminder”


Casey, “The one about the overdose.”

Doug, “Five going on fifteen”

Polly Pagenhart, “Thanks giving”

Lindsay Ferrier, “Every Mom Needs a Little Wiggle Room”

Letter to My Body

Yvonne, “Life Changing Words”

Schmutzie, “#744: I Nudged Him Hard, Saying: “Come, Gloopy Bastard, As Thou Art””

Jen Zug, “He should really teach all young men everywhere how to extract the truth from tired, chubby, stay at home moms”

Laurie White, “Letter to My Body, Letter to My Face”


Antonia Cornwell, “Christmas Poem”

Jenny Lawson, “High”

Evany Thomas, “Say my name!”

Deb, “Too much of a good thing?”

Angela, “The albatross and the whales, they are my brothers.”

This one’s for you, Mom.

Bryan has a reputation among our family and friends for making things happen with video and computers (he recently strapped a video camera to his life vest when we went white water rafting), so we received all sorts of requests for my reading to be recorded.

He sent me to BlogHer equipped with our Flip, and Kristin shot this video for me:

The most frequently asked question I heard was, “are you nervous?!” Honestly, I have to say I wasn’t. I had a rush of adrenaline as I waited for my turn, and maybe a little flutter in my chest as I prepared for the trip, but over all I felt pretty confident. Like I said before, speaking in front of a crowd is not what keeps me awake at night – especially when I’m just reading from a page. What made me more nervous over the weekend was having a single conversation over breakfast with a complete stranger. I’m so terrified of 1:1 conversation that I kept excusing myself to refill my coffee mug or find more pineapple.

But midway through Saturday I was even getting my networking groove on, and made some great contacts and met lots of new (to me) bloggers. I even got daring and tossed out a Tweet-up opportunity, risking breakfast with total strangers – ON PURPOSE. Laurie responded, and we ended up having a great time standing in line for an hour waiting for a great breakfast. I can’t say I would have been that patient alone, so having a couple bloggers to chat with while waiting spared me a mediocre breakfast somewhere else.

The whole experience was amazing, from receiving the announcement I’d be reading, to the curtain call at the end. Upon returning to normal life, fellow keynote reader, Schmutzie, twittered, “Someone run into my cubicle and call me adorable, STAT. I can’t take this lack of specialness a moment longer.”

I whole heartedly agree with that feeling. Thank you, again, Mrs. Kennedy, for opening the doors wide to the blogging community and giving us an opportunity show off what we can do.

Regular, non-BlogHer posting to resume…soon. I promise.

I know you’re wildly anticipating the video of my BlogHer Community Keynote reading, but I would first like to torture you with a few more pictures of my trip to San Francisco. (yawn).

I friend I’ve known forever and ever drove up from San Jose to spend the day with me on Sunday, and we walked ALL OVER THE UNIVERSE. We both kept commenting on how this will satisfy our need to exercise for many cheeseburgers to come.

We walked to Chinatown from the Ferry Building, and shopped, and ate Dim Sum. I had to be rolled down hill after eating a giant Hum Bao. The middle picture is me in front of the gate to Chinatown, and the one on the right is a church steeple with a plaque that says, “Son, observe the time and fly from evil.”

ChinatownGate into Chinatownwise words

From Chinatown we walked up to North Beach, the Italian neighborhood. I loved this area. There was a cafe for every taste – white linens and china, or cafe tables and mugs – and most had outdoor seating along the sidewalk. We picked a casual one and sat, cups of coffee in hand, talking and people watching. The perfect pit stop to rest our feet.

Italian Coffee

From North Beach we walked up hill toward Coit Tower to get a panoramic view of the city. That little tuft of trees to the left is Washington Square in the North Beach neighborhood, and it’s at the bottom of this very very steep hill. We didn’t even walk the rest of the way up to the Coit Tower, because I was all, I THINK I’M OKAY WITH THE VIEW FROM HERE, to which my friend was quite relieved.


I was geeking out a little over the interesting architecture and the collision of lines and shapes in the financial district.

pyramid towerarchiteturecircles, lines, triangles

On Monday I ventured out solo, and took the bus to the Haight-Ashbury district. Maybe I was tired of window shopping and ready to go home, but my impressions of the neighborhood did not match my anticipation of it. It didn’t feel any different than walking The Ave in Seattle’s U-District – lots of hemp, lots of white boys with dreads, lots of 20-somethings who need to get a job. But I did stop in to one cafe for lunch that had this really cool bathroom. It was my favorite thing of the day.

bathroom1 - haight-ashburybathroom2 - haight-ashburybathroom3 - haight-ashbury

BlogHer was held at the Westin St. Francis near Union Square – that large, rather ominous building that looks like something straight out of Gotham City. I’m sure someone has something to complain about regarding the hotel, but frankly any room with blackout curtains, a bed that soft, and the absence of children waking me in the night is a winner in my book. Oh, and I mustn’t forget to mention the double shower heads. Rocks In My Dryer took some lovely pictures inside the hotel.

The Westin St. Francis @ Union Square

Big shout out to Jen/Jenna/Jennifer of The Word Cellar, my BlogHer room mate for the weekend. We were set up on a blind date through Twitter, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect match! I hope to be sleeping with you again. Uh, wait…

Jenna and Jen

and then we all sang kum-bah-ya

So I know it’s not The Daily Show or anything, but even so, I can now say to someone, “I was waiting in THE GREEN ROOM…”

waiting in The Green Room

On the set list, I was #16. Angela (who was last) wondered out loud if anyone would stick around to listen to us late readers. I think her nerves were being wishful.

pg 2 of the set list

I asked Doug of Laid Off Dad for a photo. Not my most shining moment as an anti-fangirl, but how can you resist the only rooster in the hen house?! He was very gracious, and obliged. Because he really is that awesome. Laid Off Dad is one of the first blogs I discovered Way Back When, and I have always admired his way with words.

Laid Off Dad

Waiting. #16 is a long time to wait.


Meet Schmutzie. This picture totally captures the evening for me – the stage, the lights, the shadows, the curtain – it was my little moment of magical wonder. I stood there, too.


You know that little sticker they put on maps at the mall? YOU ARE HERE. This was MY moment.


Kristin shot a video of the reading with my Flip. I will post it when I get home and have a real internet connection.

coming to you from a very big pond…

Just in case you missed it, I am here:


Blogging will be… well, WHO KNOWS what could happen. But you will likely get more of the scoop if you follow my twitters.

I would love to give a big shout out to the guy in seat 24D on my flight from Seattle – he loaned me his awesome head lamp when he heard my overhead reading light was burned out. The world need more people like you in it, my friend.

head lamp

In other BlogHer news of interest, Kristin’s mood rings can’t decide how she feels about being here:

what mood is she REALLY in?


IMG_9316.JPGYou know you want me to wear this on Friday night when I read my post at the Blogher Community Keynote. And you know I’m just as tempted to do it.

I mean, seriously, look how skinny I look in this picture! I swear on the lives of both hot ABBA chicks that I am in no way as skinny as I look in this picture. It must be the off-the-shoulder neckline, or the way I’m sticking my chest out – either way it is a trick of the eye!

This evening I take off for San Francisco. I’m mostly excited, and surprisingly not nervous or insecure. I think the two years since I last attended have given me sound footing and confidence. I am who I am, and I have nothing to prove.

Of course this only means I will trip as I walk across the stage, or pee my pants just before reading. Won’t THAT be the best headline on techmeme: chubby girl with weak Kegel muscles pees in front of hundreds…

on staying the course

Recently a friend – author and movie critic, Jeffrey Overstreet – had the privilege of interviewing Andrew Stanton, writer and director of WALL-E and Finding Nemo. As these things usually go, the interviewer typically has only ten minutes to ask a series of question, sometimes even less.

In Jeffrey’s account of the interview, he says he was taken completely off guard when Stanton started out by saying he’d recently read and enjoyed Jeffrey’s memoir of “dangerous movie going,” Through a Screen Darkly. Jeffrey writes:

What a strange, small world we live in. I’m shaken at the idea of a magician like Stanton reading my fumbling attempts to express my appreciation for excellence and artistry like his. I’ll cherish that surprise for the rest of my life.

Bryan and I have known Jeffrey many years, long before his first book was published, and have shared in his love for music, movies, and the intersection of faith and culture. I was teary eyed at the book release party for his passion project, Auralia’s Colors, as I listened to him describe years of dreaming and honing his craft and wading through rejection.

Now, as Jeffrey is waiting for the release of his third book in the fall, Andrew Stanton says he likes his work, and it would seem as if he’s arrived.

I struggled with maintaining contentment this year. I found my inner voice justifying my lack of “success” by saying things like, If I had more time I could…, or When my kids are in school I will…. I watched other blogging friends find success in print or major national websites, excited for them, but at the same time feeling as if the train were leaving the station without me.

I think I sometimes mix up fame and craft. Sure, we all hope for that nudge of recognition from somebody we think matters, but what if that nudge never comes? Will I be content as a writer to just write? Are the people who read my blog today somehow less important than someone who reads my third published memoir?

When Blogher announced I’d be reading at the community keynote this Friday, I watched with elation as the stats on my Google Analytics soared. I crossed my fingers every day, hoping the numbers would stay up because someone who I thought matters gave me a nudge. Surely everyone will be amazed at my power over the English language, I thought, and want to subscribe to my blog feed.

Of course things settled back down to normal after two or three days, and it’s just you, me, and a glass of wine again. Surprisingly, though, I find peace in this. What I’ve enjoyed most about blogging over the years, is the practicing of my craft and becoming friends with some of my most faithful commenters. I’ve even convinced one of my readers-turned-friend to move in with us, and I couldn’t be more excited. I wish I could invite all of you to sit by my fire and roast marshmallows!

Some day I will tell you the story of how Bryan and I used to know Don Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and other books. I will tell you how we stayed with him on a trip to Portland when I was pregnant with Ruthie, how we slept on an air mattress on his floor, and listened to him talk about how uncertain his future was. Will he go bankrupt? Will he get published? Will he make it as a writer? Someday I will tell you how Bryan and I read an early draft of Blue Like Jazz as we sat outside Portland’s Rose Garden, waiting for the Bruce Springsteen concert to start, and how we were transfixed by every word.

Don Miller made it, for sure, but I will never forget those two or three visits to Portland before any of us knew he would. And I will never forget sitting cross-legged on the floor at Danny’s house, participating with Jeffrey Overstreet in a Dead Poet’s Society-like evening of sharing our art with one another before his name was ever in print. I remember these things to remind myself the goal is not to get somewhere, to gain an audience. The goal is to write well, to practice my craft, and to meet great people who can inspire me to fix my eyes on these things.

bed headIf you are going to Blogher, or if you are at Blogher and reading this, I would love the opportunity to meet you. (That’s me on the right, only I promise to look better than just out of bed and feeling slightly cranky about it). We all have dreams and goals and whisper wishes, and I would love to hear yours. I would also love to encourage you in those things, and give you something to remind you to stay on course. I’ll be giving away three books to people I meet at Blogher, so make sure I get a business card or a piece of paper with your email address on it, and when I get home I’ll randomly draw three names to win one of these books.

The first book I’ll give away is Through a Screen Darkly, by Jeffrey Overstreet, which challenges you to view movies and art thoughtfully. Secondly, I’ll give away Blue Like Jazz, by Don Miller, which is the series of essays he was writing during those years he struggled to make it as a writer. Thirdly, I’d like to send someone a copy of Writing from the Inside Out, by Dennis Palumbo. Ironically, a blogger I met at Blogher 2006 recommended this book to me, and it’s become one of those cornerstones of my craft.

In this review of the book I write:

The over-arching theme of the book is this: love what you do, because the rewards of writing won’t always come in typical or tangible success, so our reward must be IN the writing. This is not a step-by-step how-to of writing the great novel or screenplay. Rather, it is a therapeutic salve that encourages the writer to be himself, to write from his own experiences, and to find joy in the everyday mundane.

It’s late and I’m sleepy with wine, and words to end by are not coming easily. So I will let this end awkwardly and get a decent night’s sleep before the big trip. Hope to see you there.

Be careful what you wish for…

Two years ago I attended the BlogHer conference in San Jose thanks to a very generous friend, Ponzi, who had an extra sponsorship pass to give away. The whole trip worked out perfectly because Bryan was working down there that week, met me and the kids at the airport, and entertained them all weekend while I was busy. We even got to stay in the apartment of a friend who was out of town.

Last year I started out the weekend with a high level of social awkwardness. I’m not a great chit-chatter, so I mostly sat next to people and totally ignored them. Nice, huh? Way to make use of an awesome networking weekend. I did finally break through that social awkwardness on day two, and met some awesome friends that I’ve mostly kept in touch with, including the infamous Mommy Needs a Cocktail and Jen Lemen.

Ironically, in one of the posts I linked above I describe my social awkwardness like this:

It’s a funny thing about me – you could have put me in front of a microphone on stage to address all 400 people at Blogher today and I would have stunned you with my articulate genius. I commented freely and confidently in all the sessions I attended. But I couldn’t even manage to introduce myself to the gal I sat next to at lunch today.

As it turns out, when I head down to the Blogher conference next weekend I will be standing on a stage in front of everyone, holding a microphone. Only there won’t be 400 people, there will likely be close to 1,000. My essay submission was chosen to read during Friday’s Community Keynote, and I couldn’t be more excited. In fact, I screamed like a crazy woman on The Price Is Right when I read the email.

I’m sworn to secrecy on which post I’ll be reading, so if you already know or have a good guess, please keep it to yourself. I owe a great big thanks to Eden Kennedy of Fussy for this great opportunity, as she’s the brains behind the event. After reading her post on the excruciating selection process, I appreciate her desire to showcase bloggers like myself who are fairly unknown. Thank you, also, to the rest of the bloggers on the selection committees for taking the time to read so many posts.

So if you’re headed to Blogher ’08 next weekend, give me a holler. Would love to meet you, hand you one of my cards (below), and become fast friends.

business cards_frontbusiness cards_back

BlogHer Blues

I’m not going to Blogher this year. At first I wasn’t phased by this reality, since it really wasn’t practical for me financially or logistically anyway. I was willing to accept that.

But then the BlogHer chatter on the internet started pulling at my Poor Me strings this week. I have kept in touch this year with many women I met at BlogHer 2006, and meeting up with them again would be dangerously fun in a Not Sleeping for Three Days kind of way. I’m trying to get past that left-out feeling, because I know I am not being excluded in spirit. I just won’t be present in body.

But ya’ll better get on the IM and give me a shout out once in awhile!

As further torture I checked out the sessions today, and these are the ones that looked interesting to me:

Digital Exhibitionists or Chroniclers of their Time: Will Naked Bloggers Make History?

The Art of Storytelling

Technical Tools to Build Traffic (because I still don’t understand Feedburner) or The Art of Writing Reviews

The State of the Momospehere (though I’m tired of hearing about it)

Book to Blog and Back Again

On a whim, I just now checked Travelocity for flight information, just in case I could convince Bryan that it would be a good idea for me to take a red-eye to Chicago tonight. But that won’t be happening for less than $900.

Foiled. Oh well.

On the bright side, tomorrow is my sixth wedding anniversary, which is definitely cause for celebration and reason to not take a red-eye to Chicago tonight. I just might get laid.

Blogging Etiquette – Comment Reply or Email Response?


There was much discussion at BlogHer around the community of the blogging world, built largely through commenting on other sites, responding to comments on your own sites, linking to one another, and so forth.

One question I forgot to ask in the many sessions I attended was regarding comment etiquette. When someone new (or regular, for that matter) comments, is it best to acknowledge or respond to that comment within the comments of that post? Or is it more appropriate to send that person an email response? Or both?

I guess the reason I’m asking is, when you comment on a post, do you typically go back to that post at a later time to see how the conversation has continued? Or do you comment and move on?

My New Blogging Buddies: How I Turned That Frown Upside Down.

Meet Maryam, Jen, and Jen's double chin!I had a great time floating in and out of contact with Maryam this weekend. She just moved back to the Bay Area from Seattle this past month so it hardly seems like we’ve skipped a beat, but I know soon it will sink in that she is gone. I was glad to have so much time with her, and was proud to be sitting front and center during her panel discussion on Next Level Nakedness.

I met Kristin briefly on Friday, then caught up with her again on Saturday. We share a passion for writing and talked over lunch about using our blogs as writing exercises. She filled me in on the Identity and Obligations session, as I wish I would have attended that instead of the Mommyblogging session. I should have listened to my got and not followed the hype.

Through her I met (another) Kristin. This may sound creepy, but when we met I felt like Anne Shirley meeting her kindred spirit. We are snarky about the same things, and I let her son pilfer cheerios from my son’s stroller pockets, and the rest is history.

Kristin’s sister, Jen, also had lunch with us – and yes, that means we lunched together: Jen Squared and Kristin Squared, but I promise it was not prearranged. Jen is a doula which means I instantly liked her. Jen and Kristin the Latter are from D.C. and confirmed my theory that all men from D.C. appear to be good looking because they wear power suits to their very important jobs.

IMG_3345Saturday evening poolside I had drinks with Amy Gahran, Lisa Williams, and Maryam. Amy and Lisa were at BlogHer05 and said the tone was much different this year – in ’05 there was excitement about discovering the multitudes of women bloggers. Amy felt this year’s excitement built on that as women asked, What ELSE can we do? We had a great time comparing Notes on Notes, as Amy titled her post. She does a great job of summing up that conversation so I’ll just let you follow that link! But while you’re still here, check out Amy and Lisa with their notepads!

DeniAfter drinks a group of us went to dinner, including Deni, who seemed like life itself. She almost didn’t come to Blogher because she recently lost her mom, but I was grateful for the opportunity to meet her. She poo poo’d on my days living in and around Times Square, and told me if I ever visited NYC again she would show me the REALLY cool parts of town. The first place I want her to take me is to her favorite breakfast spot. Here she is showing me a picture of her new puppy.

So, in contrast to Day One when I called Bryan in a panic to pick me up for dinner, Robert and Maryam dropped me off in front of my borrowed apartment at 11:45, full of food, drink, and many good memories.

BlogHer Day Two – All About the Conversation

If BlogHer Day One was the Bad Hair Day of social networking for me, then Day Two was the Glamour Shot Day.

I met many wonderful women, had great conversation, and stretched myself as a networker. I don’t have time this morning to fully give my impressions of the day and introduce you to my new friends, as we have a breakfast date with friends and then a plane to catch.

I’ll catch you later tonight.